Northern Ireland

Ballymena addiction centre: Funding found for additional two years

drugs Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The centre was a facing a reduction of £360,000 in funding from the Department of Justice

Funding has been found for a drugs addiction centre in Ballymena, County Antrim, to keep it running for another two years.

However the Railway Street centre, which was facing closure, will operate with reduced services.

The Northern Trust said it would experience a significant reduction in funding because of budget cuts.

Last year, a withdrawal of £360,000 in funding from the Department of Justice (DOJ) put the centre at risk.

Sinn Féin North Antrim MLA Daithí McKay, who campaigned to keep the drugs misuse centre open, said the announcement would provide funding for two clinical staff jobs.

He said: "There's been a huge community campaign to try and keep the full service open.

"While it is positive that additional funding has been secured, more is required to ensure the long-term future of this much-needed facility in Ballymena."

Mr McKay told BBC Radio Ulster's Good Morning Ulster programme that some services at the site would be amalgamated as a result of DOJ budget cuts.

The centre has been described as a model of best practice in helping injecting drug users.

In a statement, the trust said: "Although the service will still experience a significant reduction in funding, the trust is pleased that there has been a step in the right direction and will continue to work with all partners to provide the best model of service moving forward."

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